My reason for walking the Camino involved a search for answers about life. When I arrived home, the scale tipped with further questions, instead of resolution. As someone who likes tidy conclusions, I wanted my pilgrimage wrapped up with a neat bow. That’s not what I got.
As the Camino blues plagued me, I started writing this blog hoping for catharsis and relief.
Over time, the practice of describing each day on the Camino de Santiago became a form of meditation, a tool for examining the significance of my journey. As I wrote about the places, people, and events of my seven-week pilgrimage, my blues began to dissipate and the meaning of personal insights became clearer. Ultimately, this practice helped me move through my deepest unresolved questions into understanding and transformation.
If you’re a regular reader of other Camino blogs, my writing is about to veer away from the typical story of familiar Camino landmarks and daily rituals. I’m about to venture into the land with no arrows where the once-clear purpose of getting to Santiago is gone, but a new destination slowly emerges.
After the Camino ends, the pilgrim’s challenge (if s/he chooses to accept it) is to discover a new way of being in his/her life, based on the insights s/he gained on the Way. To do this, s/he must walk down many frustrating paths in the wrong direction. S/he must enter blind alleys in search of his/her guiding light. Once there, s/he may realize this was never the way in the first place. Eventually, the pilgrim finds renewed peace in discovering that the answer was in her/him all along. The new path is to live that peace every day.
Guided by the truths of the Camino, I went from enlightened pilgrim to lost soul and then found a new way. In the posts that follow, I hope to inspire you to stay on your post-pilgrimage path—for your own field of shining stars awaits.
3 thoughts on “Writing about the land with no arrows: what happens after Santiago”
Jen, it’s so inspiring to read that you have “move[d] through [your] deepest unresolved questions into understanding and transformation” and that you’ve discovered that the answer was within you all along (I’m assuming). I have yet to reach that stage of my post-Camino journey and find myself still seeking.
There have been moments in my life when I have felt a deep and satisfying sense of fulfillment and those moments typically revolved around living in community and living in a profoundly simple way. Being on the Camino was no exception; now to find a way to bring that into my life in the land without arrows….
That is the hardest work of all, Elissa. If someone had told me this before I left for Spain, I would never have believed that anything could be harder than walking 500 miles.
It seems that you have glimpses of what feeds you and inspires you—community and simple living. Perhaps returning to the Way will illuminate what comes next and how to live it. If you ever want to chat about it, I’m here!
I sometimes wonder if the journey ever ends. I’ve heard even the most enlightened beings say there’s always more. We expand into the infinite. Or so I’ve been told.